With climate crisis at our doorstep, every architect now has an urgent global problem to solve. As crucial as technologies are in finding solutions, they also risk creating new problems along the way. Our exhibition and the accompanying book explore human resistance to technology as a pressing issue in contemporary architecture. By focusing on instances of unsettling techno-nonsense, we highlight the importance of the human perspective in architecture and stress the need to help people learn to live together with today’s intelligent machines. In so doing, we pursue an informed and balanced coexistence of comfort-seeking individuals with sustainability-driven technology as the condition for a liveable future for humanity.


The Latvian pavilion installation focuses on the contradictory nature of our relationship with technology. Made of an uncanny web of black pipes coming from an unknown source, the enormous apparatus first appears to be a foreign organism parasitizing on space that used to belong to humans. The installation invites visitors to change their perspective and discover an amusing neighbour in this seemingly threatening intruder — one that reacts to our presence and even addresses us in an incomprehensible yet comforting language of its own.


This immersive experience of learning to live with technology spells out a promise of a sustainable partnership between humans and machines which are, after all, our own creations made for our own good - notwithstanding any initial negative sentiments.


The accompanying book elaborates on the idea behind the exhibition by confronting two opposing viewpoints on the role of technology in our everyday lives: satirical portrayals of absurd situations involving systems and equipment in the built environment on the one hand, the reasoned arguments of technology experts seeking to fix the problem on the other. Based on real-life cases, the short stories involve witty humour with techno-pessimist overtones, while expert commentaries display the dedicated pursuit of professionals believing in the ultimate good of technology. Thus, the book reflects the way our society, and often each one of us individually, is polarized towards the machines. It also shows that in the long run, what may have seemed only “for the building” proves to be “for you” after all.


Curators: NRJA (Uldis Lukševics, Elīna Lībiete, Ivars Veinbergs, Ieva Lāce-Lukševica, Zigmārs Jauja, Inga Dubinska, Līga Jumburga)
Installation design team: NRJA
Installation realization: NRJA, Pēteris Riekstiņš and Ansis Bergmanis
Book “It’s not for you! It’s for the building”: NRJA and Architext
Graphic design: Aleksejs Muraško
Audio design: Gatis Ziema
Photography: Andrejs Strokins
Project management: Austra Bērziņa
Communications: Linda Bērziņa
Commissioner: Jānis Dripe (Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia)
On behalf of: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia


NRJA (No Rules Just Architecture)

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Arsenale Artiglierie, Venezia

29th of August, 2020

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Elīna Lībiete